What is the message you would write to yourself? What’s message you’d write to yourself?

New Balance is encouraging consumers to channel their inner athlete and tap into their competitive drives with “Letters to My Future Self,” an inspiration-driven campaign that aims at redefining personal ambitions, motivations and sense of purpose through commitment to fitness and healthy living.

Through long-and-short-form films, and of course written notes, the digital-centered campaign captures the goals and messages of athletes that focus on who they want to be in the future. It’s complemented with a multi-dimensional experience on the Boston-based athletic apparel vendor’s brand website, as well as with a content partnership with The Players’ Tribune.

The time capsule campaign, which kicked off in January, highlights the aspirational stories of Houston Astros all star second baseman José Altuve, fast-food-cook-turned-Olympic-finalist Boris Berian, X Games gold medalist Alexis Sablone, tennis champion Milos Raonic as well as runners Ciara Mageean and Tom Barr.

New Balance is championing consumers to overcome obstacles, too, by encouraging an initiative where they can pen their own letter to their future selves. The brand will send the letter back to each author in one year after their submission through a unique capsule experience.

Cause marketing is a trend brands are increasingly employing because consumers value brands, retailers and even employers that believe in and enable giving. The campaign also comes as a timely one for New Balance, who suffered severe social criticism in November after supporting President Donald Trump.

Steven Ruhl, head of global brand marketing at New Balance, joined [a]listdaily to shed more light on the transformative experience that aims at advancing the athlete’s journey and outlook for the future.

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Why did you decide to take the route of inspirational marketing for “Letters to My Future Self?” What kind of uplift does a values-based marketing campaign have with consumers?

New Balance has always looked at how to help our consumers evolve and improve—both in athletics, and in life. It’s important for us to engage with young athletes around the world and we know that great stories that inspire and entertain can deliver stronger brand connections in marketing. These stories are also meant to deliver value for the consumer by posing questions not just about sport, but about life, and asking viewers ‘what would you tell your future self?’ We believe that if we can make you think about life, your best self, and the future you want to achieve, then we will have succeeded. We hope that consumers see this campaign also as a metaphor for our brand and its core values and how it reflects our decision to work with athletes who have strong character, integrity and intention.

How will you be marketing the multi-dimensional “What would you tell yourself?” experience on social with #MyFutureSelf? Will you be testing any emerging platforms?

We are bringing this to life across paid, owned and earned channels. Aside from strong paid distribution across video platforms like YouTube, we’ll create surround sound digital content on our social handles, and drive to an experience page where consumers can watch more, read more, and learn more about each athlete story. On our experience page, consumers can also submit their letter to their ‘future self,’ and we’ll send it back to them, in about one year. Another strong component of this campaign was the number of athletes on roster who’ve participated by sharing their ‘note to future self,’ with their followers, and encourage sharing on social media. The #MyFutureSelf hashtag was used more than 6,000 times in just the first week and a half, thanks in large part to all of our athletes and ambassadors around the world, who shared deeply personal and motivating thoughts for their followers.

How is New Balance’s marketing a reflection of its our values?

We created our ‘Letters to My Future Self’ campaign to showcase the true individuality, grit and unparalleled persona of our world class athletes. Through their own words, reflections and inner strength, they inspire athletes everywhere to unrelentingly pursue the best version of their future self.

Why is it important for New Balance to partner with a media company like The Players’ Tribune and use them as a distribution platform?

It was exciting to have our athletes tell an authentic story, through letters written to their future selves published on The Players’ Tribune, the new athlete-driven content platform. New Balance prides itself on being an authentic athletic brand, and this was an exciting collaboration for us.

What did you apply from your #GreaterThanTheWin campaign learnings from last year? Do motivation-and-caused-based campaigns work well with millennials?

We saw a significant increase for New Balance brand consideration in key markets, after consumers experienced the content. This was big validation in our approach to deeper human-inspired and unique storytelling, with focused distribution across digital video platforms.

How have consumers responded to previous branded content featuring long-and-short-form films? Do you complement them with an influencer marketing strategy for amplification?

We’ve received a great response when we provide long-and-short-form content that entertains and inspires consumers—but also talks to our shared values, and how we’re different in the marketplace. We recognize that our athletes and ambassadors are hugely influential in helping us amplify our brand message.

Follow Manouk Akopyan on Twitter @Manouk_Akopyan